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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  March 16, 2012 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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the battle for joe six-pack. let's play "hardball"! good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york tonight. leading off tonight, the empire strikes back. up until now, the political campaigning has been dominated by republicans and their serial denunciations of president obama. well, today, the obama team hit back. joe biden was in campaign mode at a uaw rally in toledo, where he rallied blue-collar workers the president needs. on the out bailout, biden said the president was right and the republicans were dead wrong, and the president lampooned his opponents as flat earthers who dismiss any form of alternative energy. game on! plus, mitt's got the math, but rick has the passion. and what in the world is newt up? we'll ask the man many
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republicans hoped who would save them from themselves, mitch daniels. and what has once accepted by both parties has now become another partisan fact, the violence against women act. republicans say the democrats are playing politics. and if there's one thing most people know about mitt romney, is that he once took a vacation with his dog, seamus, strapped to the roof of his car. what is it about romney that makes this story stick? and let me finish tonight with a thought about glenn beck. we begin with president obama and vice president biden in campaign mode. michael steele was the chair of the republican national committee and howard fineman is the editorial director of "the huffington post" media empire. both are msnbc political analysts. thank you, howard. you know, let's take a look right now at joe biden. joe biden's on fire today. the vice president was fired up in toledo, ohio. he took on the republican candidates, naming names and leveling attacks on all their
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candidates. here's some of his speech from today. let's watch. >> mitt romney, rick santorum, and newt gingrich. these guys have a fundamentally different economic philosophy than we do. simply stated, we're about promoting the private sector, they're about protecting the privileged sector! we are for a fair shot and a fair shake. they're about no rules, no risks, and no accountability. i want to tell you what's real bankruptcy. the economic theories of gingrich, santorum and romney. they are bankrupt. if you give any one of these guys the keys to the white house, they will bankrupt the middle class again. >> well, let me start with howard on this. it's my sense now that they're beefing up the second half of their ticket. biden's on the ticket clearly. he made it clear today. and they want him to play the role of scranton oshkosh, destroyer of mitt romney.
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>> well, you're right. that's the crescent, chris. it goes through pennsylvania, through ohio, illinois, michigan, and so on. the battleground states where blue-collar workers, middle class, blue-collar workers are the key. culturally conservative, yet traditionally responsive to a democratic message. it's fascinating to watch the white house try to occupy the middle ground on private enterprise. ion you know, mitt romney is claiming he's the guy who's going to turn around the private sector because he was in the private sector. but the white house is not going to sit back and take that argument at face value. they're going to say, no, no, we actually care about the private sector, because we went in and did things like saving the auto industry. so it's game on in terms of who can protect the health of private enterprise for the benefit of the working class. >> who's more like a blue-collar worker, do you think, chairman steele? would you say joe biden or would you say mitt romney? who's more like one of the regular guys you might meet somewhere hanging out with the guys? >> there's no doubt that joe biden is a regular guy in that sense.
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he's a commuter. you know, he took the train to washington to work every day, just like a lot of commuters out there. >> he has a lunch bucket, i hear? >> a lunch bucket, absolutely. we get that. but i find it fascinating -- i totally get all of that. but i find it fascinating that as the president launches this harangue against the gop team that he didn't talk about his signature piece of legislative success and that's health care. where's the conversation on health care? where's the -- >> well, can't they talk about what they want to talk about -- >> oh, okay, so they get to talk about what they want to talk about, but we have to talk about what you guys want us to talk about. >> they usually give a speech. but is it harangue if the president gives -- it's a is a soliloquy if mitt romney gives one. >> the left wants to cut it every which way in their favor. the reality of it is this. the president's out there campaigning, the vice president's campaigning. that's great, that's what it's all about. but he's starting now because
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he's getting killed because of the gas prices. the polls are eating at his heels and he's trying to get out and get in front of that as much as he possibly can. he's not talking about those kinds of solutions. his energy plan, what energy plan? you know, it's a little bit here, a little bit there. there's no consistent rollout of what he's going to do next. and, again, he's not talking about the one thing that he should be talking about, the success of his health care. really? >> let's go back to -- i know you want to talk about health care. we'll have a whole night on that some night when you're not here. >> some night! >> yesterday on fox news, romney was asked about some of his recent gaffes having to do with his wealth. let's watch the possible still front-runner of the republican party, mitt romney. >> you've talked about, people ask you about football and you talk about how you know the nfl owners. they talk about nascar, and you talk about how you know some racing owners. you talk about ann's two cadillacs. and people say, he's so rich, he can't relate to the rest of us. why do you keep doing that? >> megan, guess what? i made a lot of money.
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i've been very successful. i'm not going to apologize for that. >> you know you're struggling, though, with the folks who make less than $100,000. even in the states you've won, you've struggled with that. >> no, no, let me tell you -- >> in ohio. >> you don't win a million more votes than anyone else in this race by just appealing to high-income americans. >> was that megan or was that me, howard? it doesn't look like me, but it sounded like me. she was the litigator. i know she's an attorney, she was really sticking it to him there on those points. like, why does he keep losing -- we saw the numbers coming out of alabama and mississippi, gets killed below 50k, below 100k. he is the elite candidate, just by the numbers. >> i thought megan kelly did a good job, but i was more interested in romney's answers. they were terrible! you don't say, hey, i made a lot of money! i mean, that doesn't really -- that's not really the way to do it, i don't think. what he needs to say is, look, i understand the private sector. i want everybody to have a chance.
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we're in a battle to save the private economy of america from overregulation, from too much government, whatever you want. find ways to illustrate it. find ways to make it exciting. the battle to save private enterprise! make it exciting. the romney campaign has completely failed at what it should be strongest at, which was thinking up ways to sell mitt romney as a true defender of working people, because he wants to save the private economy. instead, mitt romney just waves his hand and says, hey, guess what, i made a lot of money. doesn't work. doesn't work. >> let's take a look at what joe biden today said about romney. let's hear a little bit more from him. i know that michael wants to hear it from toledo. here's more from the vice president. >> i can't wait. >> governor romney was more direct. let detroit go bankrupt. [ audience boos ] he said that. he said that what we proposed, and i quote, is even worse than bankruptcy, end of quote.
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he said it would make gm, quote, the living the ted. the guy i work with every day, the president, he department idn't flinch. this is a man with steel in his spine. he knew that resurrecting the the industry wasn't going to be popular. he wasn't going to give up on a million jobs and the iconic industry america invented. he made the tough call! and the verdict is in! president obama was right and they were dead wrong! >> so, bin laden's dead and ge is alive. i mean, gm's alive. ge's alive too. >> gm's -- >> how do you handle those facts on the ground? >> you handle the facts with the fact. and the fact of the matter is that that was the easy call to make. the tougher call was letting the market actually do what markets are supposed to do and pick the winners and losers instead of the government coming in and taking 30% of a private company, kicking the the bondholders out and having them lose their hard-earned investments -- >> is that the pitch of the republican party?
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>> no, it's not the pitch, but it's the facts. you don't want to deal with the facts, just like health care. you want to have a special program when i'm not here, so i've got to get it in now. and the other point, chris -- >> did you see batman when the guy kept coming in from the other channel, interrupting life there. the joker. let's just stay on the subject. there was some big news today, michael, we were trying to cover it. the vice president gave a big speech in toledo. the president gave a big speech on energy. i want to cover these facts. >> but what did he say? he said the same old stuff. he's not talking -- i mean, what is the plan? we don't know what the plan is. it's great to harangue -- i'll use the word again -- against mitt romney and others, but the fact is, what are you going to do now to move this economy forward? how are you going to sustain these jobs? how do you get the government out of only 27% of gm right now? what's the plan forward? there's no talking about that. >> here's the president, perhaps you'll get to your topic like joe biden, president obama's in campaign mode today, accusing his republican opponents of being stuck in the past on the issue of new sources of energy, like wind and solar power. the president had some fun at
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the republican's expense today. let's listen to him. >> lately, we've heard a lot of professional politicians, a lot of the folks who were, you know, running for a certain office, who shall go unnamed. they've been talking down new sources of energy. if some of these folks were around when columbus set sail -- they must have been founding members of the flat earth society. they would not have believed that the world was round. they probably would have agreed with one of the pioneers of the radio, who said, television won't last. it's a flash in the pan. >> what do you think of that, now, howard? let's go on to santorum now. it seems to me that santorum is running a tough race out in illinois, because he's up
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against that restore our future money, that super pac which is loyal to mitt romney. the latest number, that super pac spending about $3.3 million, just in illinois. this is astounding money. i mean, he's been doing -- dropped over $2 million down in alabama and mississippi. there he is doing it again. his pac is doing it. in all fairness, it's probably very much in league with him in terms of purpose, getting him elected. totally negative. so here we have a republican party with one guy, santorum, selling the hard right, the tea party and cultural right, doing the best he can against money coming at him, when the money's totally negative. just, there isn't really a romney argument out there, it's just santorum and then this dresden bombing, the carpet bombing that never stops. >> well, i think if you look at the romney campaign from the beginning, it's always been about that. i think to some extent, he and his people don't have faith in romney's own ability to make a case. to make a positive case. as i say, there is a message in
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there and it's about how mitt romney can save the economy because he knows private enterprise, but they've done a terrible job of illustrating it and making it dramatic and figuring out ways to make romney personally identify with it. it just hasn't worked. so, instead, they follow the natural instinct of most political consultants, which is to go negative early and often and at all times. that's what they're doing. that's what they've done from the beginning. and that's what they will do if romney's the candidate in the fall. it will be a 9-to-1 negative campaign, very little positive. it will be all attack on the president. and that's why the president's people felt they had to start getting out there now. they'd set mid-march as the time they were going to start campaigning, and they're starting to campaign, even though there's no nominee yet. >> well, it's the ides of march. michael steele, last word on this. do you think romney's going to keep this up, just go negative on this guy until he croaks him? >> i think howard's right about that part of it, is certainly part of the game plan. but two quick things. the president is going out there campaigning now because he's getting hurt politically by the numbers on gas prices.
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number two, romney's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. you're telling him he's got to go out there and be direct, and when he is, people are saying, why are you so direct? so he's got to figure out and be comfortable with himself and do his thing and work his way through this nomination process. the other two guys aren't going away. this is going to be a slog, as you know, chris, and we are just battening down for it and just working it out. >> we like a good fight here at "hardball," and we're looking for a good fight in illinois. i hope santorum can hold his own, i want a really good fight come tuesday night out there. it looks like it's coming. michael steele, thank you, howard fineman. coming up, the man many republicans hoped would have saved them from themselves, if you will, indiana governor mitch daniels, there he is. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. looking good! you lost some weight.
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you noticed! these clothes are too big, so i'm donating them. how'd you do it? eating right, whole grain. [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multigrain cheerios... five whole grains, 110 calories. we've got new poll numbers now on the potential november election matchups. let's go to the "hardball" scoreboard. according to a new fox news poll, president obama's leading all of his republican rivals now. he's over 4 over mitt romney,
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46/42. against santorum, the president's lead is 12. 51/39. he leads ron paul by the same margin, 12 points, 50/38, in that case. and his widest lead is against gingrich, because gingrich is out of this, 53/35, 18-point spread between the president, which pretty much destroys newt's case that the republican party would ever turn to him in any kind of convention. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." we've got a great guest now. the republican presidential field has now basically come down to two men, i think mitt romney and rick santorum. neither of whom is lighting a fire under republican voters. many republicans have been pining for someone else, anyone else, a real movement conservative, perhaps, who can also beat president obama in november. they want a winner who believes. among the candidates they wish had jumped into the race is mitch daniel who is speaks to us now from indiana. he's, of course, author of "keeping the republic," and he's also governor of indiana, and in the past, long ago, like me, was a staff guy before he became a principal.
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i have to tell you, i was impressed. others of my colleagues were not, but i was very impressed that when you gave the presidential response to the union, you were willing to put cards on the table. in neither party, except for you, you were out there talking about means testing some of these entitlement programs for the very wealthy. in other words, making the kind of rational decisions we have to make as part of any grand bargain. did you take heat for sticking your neck out in that regard, governor? >> don't think so, chris. i got an awful lot of very nice feedback for that. i told the leaders of our party when they asked me to make the speech that number one, i wasn't much into red meat. tried to be more constructive than that. and number two, they knew what i thought about these things, and left to my own devices, i would be specific in a way i think our party has a duty to be. they said, go ahead, and i did, and far as i know, they were pleased, and those i heard from were.
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>> the one thing -- i'm not a republican, but the one thing that's united republican, center left and far right is an absolute belief in cutting government spending. there's a real commonality, forget the cultural issues for a moment and the foreign policy issues, which aren't that salient right now, a real belief that the government spends too much. in the long term, debt's a real, real threat to our country. and yet the two candidates now standing at the top of the fight coming into illinois are santorum, who really focuses on the cultural issues, he really does, and mitt who's not really incredible, because he is a former moderate governor of massachusetts, who really was pretty much a moderate republican. he wasn't a fiscal hard liner or a fiscal hawk. you, on the other hand, are the real thing. isn't it odd that the party's not picking the one thing they all agree on in a candidate? >> well, i hope we ultimately will. i do think for the moment, it's a little disappointing that folks aren't thinking a little bigger, having a little more can confidence in the american people that we can level with them about dangers that we're facing and about the practical steps we really have to take if we want this -- want to fight
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our way through this thing, not have a bad ending. i think they're being too timid, honestly. the president's left the field wide open. he is awol on the biggest danger to our country. he gives a 70-some minute state of the union speech, chris, and never mentioned the debt. i said to somebody -- >> well, i can argue with you on that, because there was an attempt last year from him to go at it, and your candidates, all of them said they wouldn't even accept a 10-to-1 deal. you know no democrat can go to the table, but say, i'm not even going to get a dollar for the $10 i'm spending in taxes. you know no democrat can come to the table. you've got to come to the table with some kind of debt reduction which includes some kind of revenue reduction and spending cuts. but your party said no deal on taxes. >> i'm happy to tell you that i would have raised my hand or maybe not raised -- whatever the signal was, to say tell me more about that 10-to-1 business.
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and i wish at least one of our candidates had taken that route. but, look, you can't let ft. off the hook. he is proposing budgets that make it far worse. he commissioned and then totally ignored the bowles simpson commission, which made a pretty constructive suggestion along the lines you just outlined. now, he is basically the candidate of national bankruptcy. and so the door is wide open on our side, i agree with you, that our candidates have yet to really fully take up the duty. >> well, you know why -- well, since we're getting political, i'll make the argument for the other side. the president said that simpson bowles, though it had a hell of a lot of good stuff, and durbin had the guts to support it, it did call for an equal taxation of capital gains and regular income. how many republicans are going to go along with something like that in the end request ? >> i don't know. but there's a lot in there no democrat presently are prepared to say that they are for. so it would have been an
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interesting starting point. and it was, i thought, incredibly disappointing that the president who said on the sale then turned his back on them when they came back with a pretty decent report. >> my daughter worked on that report, so of course i'm with you. and in all seriousness, i think it's a chance where he would have had a lot of cover. be, some good people were for that on both sides. killburne was there and so was durbin. let me ask you about newt gingrich. do you think it's good for the party to have a three-way when it really should come down to a two-way at some point sooner or later? >> it's not for me to say. these guys who have poured an incredible amount into this, they all believe in what they're doing, what they're advocating. it's not for me or, frankly, for anybody else to tell them to get out. >> do you think if somebody doesn't get a majority of the delegates before the convention that there should be a real debate at the convention as to who -- should it start over again, in other words? should it be a real brokered convention?
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if nobody has the majority, should there be a brokered convention, where you really do look at outside possibilities? >> whatever it is, it really wouldn't be brokered, because you don't have any brokers around. >> on the second ballot, there would be. >> well, you have a lot of willful people who sought to be delegates and have their own points of view. it would be a wide-open convention. and we've not seen one, chris. i don't know what it would look like. i don't know if it would come out well or poorly for the party. i don't think it's very likely. for all the reasons about which you're more expert than i am. >> well, i'm not more expert than you, because you're elected. but let me ask you about the whole ticket. can romney beat obama? >> yes. >> can santorum do it? >> i think anybody can. >> can santorum? >> depends on the campaign they run, entirely on that. of course, a lot of republicans are restless right now. in my frivolous moments, i'll say the following -- you know, given this economy, which is very weak no matter what they say, you've got a record-low percentage of people working
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today. it's the weakest recovery we've ever seen from a recession like this. add on gas prices, add on the mounting debt, add on obama care, which no -- which fewer and fewer people like, i always say, it would be really hard to lose an election to president obama. but we've got just the team that could do it. >> did you see the poll numbers i just gave you? obama's ahead, substantially. >> i don't think these things mean much of anything right now, chris. they could change by next week. i think it depends entirely, it's not so much a question of the who we nominate as the what. what is it that we offer america? do we have the confidence in the american people to say, listen, we are facing a truly serious problem. it's not a philosophical problem. it's all arithmetic. and there are things we can do that really won't hurt anybody. in fact, they'll spare us a lot of pain. and here they are. >> let me give you two statistics you don't need help, because you know more about politics than i do, you've been elected. more than men, women count in these elections.
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the republicans have been getting some bad pr on that lately. some because of rush limbaugh, some because of the blunt amendment with the contraception issue. you've got 10% now, for the first time ever, of the electorate in this coming november who are going to be hispanic in background. mitt romney has just gotten so far to the right on that issue in terms of self-deportation, he's talking about. have you guys blowing a lot of numbers that you shouldn't be, with women and hispanics? >> yeah, potentially. let me take the first one. i wish my teammates would stop taking the bait. you know, they didn't bring up this whole contraception, morning-after issue, the president did by what i believe was a very radical trespass of freedom, the action that his department suddenly sprung on us all. and the argument should not have been over -- it was incidentally that it had to do with contraception. where does the federal government get off telling
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people what they will provide. the fact that something's a right doesn't mean my neighbor should have to pay for it for me. i've got the right to own a gun, but i don't expect someone else to buy me one or be made to by the government. i think, honestly, my teammates were trying to talk about the big issues -- >> but women don't take it that way. what women take it as that your party is telling them whether they should get financial help to pay for birth control, which obviously men and women are both concerned with, but women say this is a really invasive thing to be told by men, you can't have this covered, where other things are covered as part of your health care. you know the issue. >> chris, i'm not disagreeing with you, just as i think some of my friends here are pretty clumsy when it comes to connecting with average people, something that's not hard to do, if you like folks and work at it and some of us do. they're also very clumsy about
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issues like this invasion here was the invasion of people's rights by the federal government. you know, the right answer would have been, what's next? a health club memberships? >> we have to go, we're late. governor, the only thing i can tell you is that rick santorum said at the beginning of this campaign last fall that he wanted to bring up contraception as a major issue. he thought it was an evil in our society and wanted to talk about it seriously. so, it wasn't just the left. but you've got a point in terms of the bill. thank you very much, governor mitch daniels of indiana. i really respect what you're trying to do fiscally. up next, newt gingrich doesn't have much rationale for staying in the race, does he? now jon stewart's picking apart whatever case he has. that's coming up in the sideshow, where newt belongs right now. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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back to "hardball." now for the sideshow. first up, southern strategy. newt gingrich lost two primaries in his backyard this week. and since then, he's been ignore calls from his own party to get out of the race. newt's got his own rationale for staying in, and here's the reaction he got from the folks at "the daily show" last night. let's watch. >> rick santorum won alabama and mississippi, and mitt romney won hawaii and america samoa. here's a little pneumonic device to help you remember. places you can get to in a winnebago go to santorum. places that require a jet or a yacht go to romney. why won't gingrich quit?! because if you think about it, he's actually kind of winning. >> between santorum and myself, we will get over two-thirds of the delegates. >> right, but you don't get to add santorum's stuff to yours to make it sound impressive. that's lake me saying, you know, between me and lebron james last night, we scored 36 points. that's not your total!
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>> well, didn't gingrich have the same argument as the people calling for the dropout, that as long as he and santorum split the more conservative vote, this is romney's game. anyway, up next, there's a big fight up on capitol hill coming now. it's on renewing the violence against women act. democrats are painting republicans' resistance to the bill of another example of hostility towards women, but republicans say democrats are just playing politics with this. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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more than one in three women in the united states have experienced rape, physical violence, or a stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime. and every year, close to 17,000 people lose their lives to domestic violence. so once again, this is not just a family matter.
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this is a matter of life and death. >> welcome back. that was minnesota senator, democratic senator, amy klobuchar on the senate floor just a few hours, pushing the case to reauthorize the violence against women act. it's an historically bipartisan bill, but many republicans are upset now that the new version of the bill includes provisions they have problems with. and they question the motives of democrats who are pushing for a quick vote. we'll have two senators who support the legislation joining us tonight, a republican and a democrat. we begin with washington senator maria cantwell, a democrat. senator, thank you for coming on tonight. >> good evening. >> what is the fight over here on this? why isn't this the bill, which has passed before, zooming through? especially in this particular political environment? >> that's what women want to know. they want to know how something that has been so bipartisan in the past, the violence against women act, that's usually passed with great bipartisan support, may not meet its deadline for being reauthorized. so after the debate on planned parenthood, after the debate on
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the blunt amendment, you bet women are saying, what's going on? >> well, let's take a look. here's one of your colleagues on the other side of the aisle, jeff sessions, a member of the judiciary committee, a republican, he's against the new version of the bill. he told "the new york times," "i favor the violence against women act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition. do you think that's possible? you think they might have put things in there that we couldn't support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?" well, he's accusing you of putting stuff in the bill that's purposefully put in there as a poison bill -- i'm sorry, i totally mistaken that. he's accusing the democrats of writing a bill that the republicans cannot sign on to. >> no, listen. there are provisions in here that are part of legislation from previous reauthorizations. these issues about making sure that women who are in the country get protected so they can be part of the prosecution's
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case against domestic violence. that's not something new. that's been in the legislation since 2004. so the real issue here is, if we want to move forward and get this done by reauthorization, bring it up on the floor. and if people have opposition, they can express their opposition. but let's make sure we get it done, so law enforcement has a tool, because this is, you know, we have so many women impacted by this, over a million women a year. let's make sure law enforcement has the tools they need. >> has there been fraud in the case of visa aspect of this? the immigration aspect of the bill? >> i've looked at the statistics, and they have denied cases of giving people visas and certainly, i think, that there are protections in place. and let's not forget, some of these cases, in the case in my state of washington, these were women who were brought into the country on mail order bride organizations. and then, basically, find out that the person that brought them into the country, for some
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grand idea of marriage, turned out to be, in one case, the woman was killed. so these are protections for prosecution to give these women, who are victims, the ability to testify in court and to make sure that they're there, as opposed to just letting the violence continue. >> so it does involve human trafficking, this part of the bill? that's terrible stuff. >> right, and you're bringing up another point. there was another bill that is caught in the same debate on human trafficking. and we want to see that bill move to do. >> well, amy, thank you. we're going to have another senator on. i want to thank you very much, senator cantwell, from washington state. susan collins is a republican from maine, of course, and a cosponsor of the bill. welcome, susan. thank you, senator, for coming on. what do you make of this the fight between the two parties on this? i know you're with the majority that wants to pass this bill, but what's the republican opposition about? >> well, first of all, i can't believe that this issue is being used as a political football. it's extremely important that we
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extend this law and look at how this bill began, chris. originally it was introduced by a democratic senator, a liberal senator, senator leahy from vermont, and a conservative republican, mike crapo, from idaho. so how did this bill, which had such widespread, broad support end up being a political football? it's really totally -- >> well, who's playing politics here? >> -- unacceptable. >> who's playing politics? democrats or republicans? >> well, i have to say i truly think the democrats are, and i say that as a supporter of the bill, as someone who represents a state where more than 50% of the murders every year are due to domestic violence. but this bill started out in a bipartisan way, and it doesn't make sense for republicans to be opposing the violence against women act.
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and they're not. the bill has some controversial provisions in it. >> right. >> we should have a free and fair and open debate on the senate floor and get the law extended. >> i want you to respond to something here that was in politico today on democratic senator chuck schumer's motives in this fight. "new york senator chuck schumer believes he has found a political weapon in the unlikeliest of places, the violence against women act. the republicans have several objections to the legislation, but instead of making changes, schumer wants to fast-track the bill to the floor and let the gop block it. then allow democrats to accuse republicans of waging a war against women." your reaction? >> well, unfortunately, while i can't speak for senator schumer's motives, that certainly seems to be what's happening. and i think that's a real shame, because this bill matters. it matters not only to women, but to children and to men who are being battered.
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if you read scott brown's book, for example, you know that there are people growing up in terribly abusive households. so it is important that we extend these programs that are so helpful to so many. >> okay. thank you so much, maine senator susan collins. up next, you probably know that mitt romney once strapped his dog to the roof of hi car s car for a family vacation up to canada. but what does it say about mitt that this story just won't go away? this is one of the iconic stories of this man's wife. this is going to be his obit, this crazy story. but it happened, and this is "hardball," only on msnbc. this is delicious okay... is this where we're at now? we just eat whatever tastes good? like these sweet honey clusters... actually there's a half a day's worth of fiber in every ... why stop at cereal? bring on the pork chops and the hot fudge. fantastic. are you done sweetie? yea [ male announcer ] fiber one. why you fell in love with her in the first place. and why you still feel the same. but your erectile dysfunction --
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well, b-rod's behind bars right now. former illinois governor rod blagojevich checked into a minimum security federal prison in colorado today to start serving his 14-year sentence on corruption charges. 14 years. blagojevich was convicted of 18 counts, including charges he tried to sell the senate seat once held by president obama. before he left his chicago home this morning, b-rod told his supporters going to prison was the hardest thing he's ever had to do, but he leaves with a clear conscious, he says, and high hopes for the future. those are his words. we'll be right back.
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look, i'll be honest with you. the question, i sit there like every other american and say, what the heck was he thinking, putting the dog on the top of the roof? >> welcome back to "hardball," that's santorum strategist, john brabender today, doubling down on his earlier comments that mitt romney's judgment is questionable, because he took a 12-hour car trip with the family dog, seamus, tied to the roof in a crate. well, the politics of the seamus story made the front page of today's "washington post." and gingrich hit romney on the dog issue in an ad which actually was released before the south carolina primary. here it goes. >> i have a yellow lab named winston. i would no sooner put him in a kennel on the roof of my car than i would one of my children. question, what were you thinking? >> this is a completely airtight kennel mounted on the top of our car. he climbed up there regularly, enjoyed himself.
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he was in a kennel at home as great deal of time as well. we loved the dog. it was where he was comfortable. we had five kids inside the car. my guess is he liked it a lot better in his kennel than he would have liked it inside. who let the dogs out? who? who? >> you got to wonder about who wants to be an airtight anything, by the way. and how do you know a dog's comfortable? anyway, the website dogs against romney sells bumper stickers that say, "i ride inside," and t-shirts that say, "dogs aren't luggage." but here's the number that may cost romney politically. 43 million u.s. households, no surprise here, that's 43 million households own dogs. that's 37% of the u.s. households in the country. how are those voters are going to feel about romney putting seamus up on the roof? dana milbank is a "washington post" columnist and jill zuckerman is a public relations strategist. dana, this thing seep ms to have no -- what do you call that thing when you can outlive it? statute of limitation. this one's almost 30 years old,
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this guy. he must be thinking, i can't even remember putting the dog up in that crate on the roof, and when he got diarrhea and he had to hose down the roof, and it was one of his kids, tag, who put the story out in the first it was one of the kids that put the story out in the first place. dana, this thing, this story, has legs. >> yes, four legs, and i think this is going to hound mr. romney, so to speak, for some -- >> are we barking up the wrong tree here or what? >> we're giving him rough treatment, but i am one of those households that have the dog, in fact, my golden doodle is in the control room right now and is a dog against romney. >> is he or she offended by this? >> deeply offended, but you have to understand a lot of people in america treat their dogs as if they are children, there are even seat belts in cars now for dogs, you can get the special equipment for them, so a lot of people laugh about it, but, you know, it's not only that large number who have dogs now, a large number have had dogs
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before and say that's just weird, something alien i can't understand, so it goes beyond the whole canine world to say this guy is a little different from a normal person. >> follow this, back in december, a wall street journal asked for his side of the shamist story. i want you to respond to him, just listen. >> love my dog. >> that's it? >> that's all i got for you. please, i've had a lot of dogs, and love them and care for them very deeply. >> i don't know about that, have had a lot of dogs, it's not numerical, it's about loving one of them. people talk to their dogs all the time, there is a relationship. what's this guy going to suffer for this as this gets around again? >> this is not going away, chris. it's not the kind of thing you go out and have a press conference about to answer all the dog questions to make it go away.
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it's just going to be there, and it reminds me a lot of when john kerry went wind surfing at nantucket during the 2004 campaign. it wasn't something that you could make it go away really, it just dogged him for the rest of the campaign, and it fed into an idea about him that people had. >> it's got legs, watch this, here's the shamist story being covered by david letterman. it's turned into a recurring bit. let's listen. >> we have a brand new segment tonight, ladies and gentlemen, it's called what's mitt romney's dog tied to today? >> the st. louis arch. >> well he's not going to shake this story. dana, you're the expert of satire, i want to ask you this, is this going to be like the story that got roosevelt elected for the first term, nixon's dog
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checkers who got him through the scandal, l.b.j. holding up his poodle by the ears, what is this, his beagle, rather. >> that's the problem, it's the reverse checkers, then this extremely well-treated dog in the white house right now, who travels on air force one. in fact, when the dog soiled the carpet of air force one, the entire carpeting of the aircraft had to be replaced, so some disparity in treatment here. >> as opposed to the dog being replaced. >> here's the white house doing it, let's listen, a recurring bit here. campaign strategist tweeted this picture of president obama and his dog beau riding inside a car with a message, "how loving owners transport their dogs." advertisements like this, so this is going to go on, and this is real. jill zuckman, dana, as always, food for thought. when we return, let me
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continue with the dishonesty, i have to call it that, whatever you want to call it, with glenn beck. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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let me finish tonight with this. glenn beck is a nincumpoop. i talked about the fact that many who hold this view are
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voting for mitt romney because they view president obama as a muslim. beck said i was calling my religion and the mormon religion a cult. i make beck's dishonesty a matter of record, because sometimes people hear something and take it as having an element of truth. well, everyone who watches me know i've never said a word critical of the lds religion or my own, i have taken on members of my religion and will continue to do so. beck is saying something about me that i resent more, that i've ever said anything about the mormon faith. the fact is i owe my start in politics to a couple of wonderful people of that faith. i went knocking on doors asking for a job, i wanted to work for a senator or congressman and get my career going. the young guy who hired me was
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wayne owens, the top aid to utah senator frank moss. he worked for bobby kennedy and became senator ted kennedy's top floor assistant. later, senator moss got me a job on the united states senate budget committee when it was first created. he made the call that got me on the job that mattered most. we stayed friends for the rest of our lives. why would glenn beck say something about me that is so patently untrue? good question. i hope he corrects it. he should discern that i was not knocking his religion, i was knocking the bigotry against his religion and mine. i assume the people watching knew that, because they know me. i go by the voting patterns which i see right there in the polls, and the sad fact is, there are a lot of voters out there, especially in the south, with views about the candidates' religions, which is just as i described it, and that's "hardball" for now, thanks for being with us, "the ed show" with ed schultz starts now.